Introducing: The Groove Guru
by Arnav Adhikari on June 3, 2013
Posted in: Eclectic, Music, Other, Rock, World
Indian music is, in many ways, the meditative sitar. It is also the exuberant overload of senses that is often Bollywood. Our music is and has been culturally defined by these two extremes, one the classical, traditional, largely esoteric approach to an art form of the centuries, the other targeting the mass market with the simple intention of wanting to make you move, sometimes in large open fields by cascading waterfalls with a hundred people following every dance step. What you probably don’t know is that the Indian music scene also has another element, one that is today growing into an unimaginably dynamic creature of originality, depth and independence. The Indian indie artist has arrived, and is here to stay.
Over the course of the summer, my aim is to introduce you to some of the most fundamental artists to the Indian music scene, as well as those who have just begun to show their heads and announce their presence with style. Finally, the incredible complexity and creative energy that encompasses India has burst out into a tributary that was just 10 years ago virtually non-existent. Making alternative music in India has finally begun to pay off (often more spiritually than financially).
So, what kind of music are we into? Pretty much all of it and more. Initially, the bands that gained popularity were artists like Parikrama, Euphoria and Indus Creed, that channeled a very 90s rock n roll feel with undeniable classic rock influences. There were also artists like Avi & The Uprising, India’s original funky acoustic folk outfit. Then, slowly, as it became more and more viable to be in a gigging band, colleges all over India began to latch onto independent musicians as part of their festivals. Mighty bands like Zero, Half Step Down and the great Thermal and a Quarter emerged onto the scene. Suddenly, there was this palpable energy, vibrancy and drive to not only play live music but record original material, and produce your own albums, an idea that would have been unheard of years earlier. The fraternity of independent musicians was growing. Today, as a musician involved at the periphery of the scene, I am astounded by the sheer depth of musical talent India has. From reggae and ska to house to death metal to blues to gypsy-cabaret, it is safe to say that not only is there a plethora of groundbreaking artists here with a unique sound, but also a genuinely devoted audience for them. What makes our indie scene so different is the breadth of music that we are exposed to as a culture. Our philosophy and approach to making music is defined by an incredible drive to not only create but also innovate. If I were to describe the scene here at the moment, I would not hesitate to liken it to the musical revolution of the 60s and 70s in the US. It’s an exciting time to be a musician or a music lover in India.
Check back here, because I will begin to really sink my teeth into some exciting bands thematically. Next post, I’m going to talk about musicians that have taken traditional elements of Indian classical music and put an out-of-this-world spin on them, creating nothing short of musical Elysium. Till then, do some introductory listening: take this dose multiple times a day.
The Groove Guru’s prescription:
Fundamental rock n roll artists:
Parikrama – http://www.parikrama.com/
Indus Creed – http://www.induscreed.net/
Funky Fathers :
Avi & the Uprising http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtDVCm4vz3I
Thermal and a Quarter (pictured on the blog) – http://www.thermalandaquarter.com/
College Faves Back in the Day:
Zero – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMOwGOLUVPo
Half Step Down - http://halfstepdownmusic.com/
Newer Artists to Love and Cherish:
Peter Cat Recording Co. – http://www.petercatrecordingco.com/
Junkyard Groove (pictured below) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hysn81F8fgE